Police ID Vandal Who Spray Painted Messages Of Hate In Royal Oak

ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – Police have identified the culprit but will not seek charges in connection with racist graffiti discovered in a Royal Oak neighborhood over the weekend.

Royal Oak police said Tuesday that they have concluded their investigation into the vandalism of cars, homes and fences in the area of Woodward Avenue, between 11 Mile Road and Catalpa, not far from the downtown area. Nazi symbols appeared in red spray paint, according to police, along with the phrase “white power” at several locations.

While looking into the case, police said it became obvious to investigators that the individual in question was in need of immediate help for what seems to be serious mental health issues.

The ROPD arranged to have the young man evaluated by mental health professionals and are now working with state agencies to get him into a long-term treatment center.

“Although this case is shocking and disturbing to our community, based on the totality of the circumstances and the facts the investigators were able to determine, the police department will not be pursuing charges at this time,” police said, in a statement. “This crime appears to be a cry for help from a very troubled individual.”

Police Chief Corey O’Donahue told WWJ Newsrado 950 that the suspect, in his 20s, is a minority of Asian descent. He does have a criminal history, but it’s a non-violent one.

Police said that crimes of this nature are “extremely rare” in Royal Oak and “are not a reflection of the community.”  They added that the department will aggressively investigate any instance of individuals threatening or intimidating Royal Oak residents or guests.

In this case, however, O’Donahue said the motivation was not hate.

“That might sound strange to anyone who’s seen the message,” the chief said. “But the individual involved, from his perspective, that wasn’t what was going on here. This was a cry for help. We believe that, the investigators believe that, so we’re going to get this individual help.”

The man’s name was not released.

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